DENVER – There are plans to transform the National Western Complex into a year-round destination center. The city is acquiring 64 acres of residential and commercial property for the expansion, but that expansion comes with a human price.
Letters have gone out to renters who live in some of the property already acquired.
It gives them 90 days to vacate and includes an offer to help with moving expenses and rental assistance.
Tenants, who live in small rooming house units in an apartment building at East 47th Avenue and Baldwin Court, worry that with Denver’s tough housing market, they won’t be able to find another place to live.
One man told Denver7 he fears he could end up on the streets.
“I talked to them about two days ago,” said Nicholas Black, “and their response was they were going to give me $650 to move. That puts my stuff on the street.”
Black said even with city’s offer to help, he’s not going to be able to find an affordable apartment.
“I pay about $500 a month here,” he said. “Wherever I move, I’m going to have to come up with first month, last month and a deposit.”
Black’s neighbor, Ted Neumann, has the same concerns.
“As everyone knows,” he said, “finding any sort of rental property these days is nigh to impossible.”
Black noted that Denver has a “camping ban.”
“I don’t want to be prosecuted for sleeping downtown,” he said.
When asked what he is going to do, Neumann said, “Panic.” He then chuckled and said, “I’m going to start looking on Craigslist and look around as much as I can.”
Neumann noted the city’s generosity in offering to help with moving expenses and rental assistance.
“They have the choice,” he said, “of giving you nothing and just forcing you out, so that’s somewhat of a nice gesture. I just don’t know how it’s going to turn out in the end.”
Neumann said finding an affordable apartment, like the unit he currently rents, is “going to be a needle in a haystack venture.”
Amber Miller, the Mayor’s director of communications, told Denver7 that the tenants “have 90 days to vacate, but can request additional time if they need it."
She said the city wants to help the tenants any way it can, to help them find their next home, including giving them more time.